Author: Nicholas Bowling
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction
“When I get scared, something happens. I don’t speak to the dead. The dead speak to me.”
I have to be honest I did order this book based on the beautiful cover, which is always a terrible idea. In my defense, the synopsis was also a huge selling point: 1577 London, Bedlam asylum, witchcraft, and royal collusion.
This gripping debut is often described as a wonderfully twisty and atmospheric novel. However, I was left feeling slightly underwhelmed. For me there were a few downfalls:
- Alyce was impulsive and rather frustrating to read
- Her relationship with Solomon seemed rushed and awkward and almost not believable?
- The magic didn’t feel ‘real’ enough…
- The ending was rather abrupt and didn’t answer any of my questions
- I wasn’t super keen on the fact that Mary Queen of Scots was painted as the evil witch who wanted to raise a dead army to do her bidding… seemed an obvious plotline?
Apart from that, I did enjoy the style of Bowling’s writing. He successfully weaved this tale through the moody streets of 16th Century London and created surroundings that felt familiar, atmospheric and rich. You end up feeling completely immersed in this *almost* ridiculous story of a young witch being chased by witch hunters through the streets of London.